World's most expensive pineapple grown in Cornwall
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Wednesday 14 July 2010
It measures just six inches from top to toe; measly by pineapple standards. But for those concerned about food miles, this particular ananas comusus will have extra credibility: it was grown in Cornwall in a glasshouse heated by horse manure.
The tiny fruit was cultivated in the pineapple pit at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, near the south coast village of Mevagissey. It may be half the size of the average supermarket pineapple but it carries an estimated price tag of £10,000, which covers labour costs, equipment – and urine-soaked hay.
"It's a really small fruit but the irony is, it must be the most expensive pineapple in the world," said Nicola Bradley, supervisor at the productive gardens. "We were so excited about it; so much hard work and hard labour has gone into it. We shared it round the gardeners and it was delicious."
Heligan's pineapple pit, which is around 40ft long and consists of three 4ft-deep trenches, fell into disuse at the start of the First World War. It was rediscovered and renovated in 1993. Heated through glass light in the summer, the pit relies on 30 tonnes of decomposing hay, which is soaked in horse urine and refreshed three or four times during the winter months to help it reach the right growing temperature. Ms Bradley said the temperature had to be at least 11C and the optimum was 24C.
Heligan's gardeners hope to add to the 40 plants currently housed in the pit, and expect more regular crops in coming years because of a better supply of manure. In future, they are hoping to spray their hay with artificial nitrogen fertilisers instead of urine.
The "hotbed" system is thought to date back to the time of Charles II but with the advent of steam boats in the mid-19th century, it fell into disuse, as importing the fruit from the Americas became more viable.
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for in the general election? Take The Independent's interactive quiz to find out which party is the right choice for you
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Met Gala 2015: Jason Derulo falling over in epic fashion, the event's most talked about moment, wasn't what it seemed
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...